If there was any opportunity for the figureheads within the Phoenix Suns’ organization to demonstrate leadership, the haze and fear of this global pandemic is it. The natural feeling of collectedness and patience was what came through in the first edition of “Valley Chatz,” the new video series being put on by the Suns in conjunction with FOX Sports Arizona.
Suns Live host Tom Leander interviewed head coach Monty Williams first, then general manager James Jones.
While the full interview is still not available to watch online (unless you have the Fox Sports Go app), here are the highlights of what was an intriguing insight into the Suns’ braintrust and how they are dealing with the circumstances of social distancing and nationwide panic.
- Williams is busy with his kids. The Suns’ coach has five children altogether in his household, and has dealt with keeping them busy and entertained with lots of time studying the Bible as well as outdoor activities. The family is lucky enough to have a basketball hoop in the driveway (unlike some NBA players).
- True to form, the head coach is still waking up early for film study.
- Williams created an Instagram page (!!!) to share his thoughts during this time of anxiety and trauma in the community. If I’m correct, you can follow it here.
- The Suns’ coaching staff uses virtual meetings every Tuesday to figure out how to stay part of their players’ lives and what their routine will look like if the season resumes.
- Williams recently chatted on the phone with Jevon Carter, who seems to be going stir crazy while unable to play basketball.
- Sadly, Williams said he recently had a death in the family. His pregnant niece passed away, likely due to complications from becoming infected with COVID-19. Send thoughts and/or prayers toward the family.
- Jones has been getting into family time as well, rewatching classic games on ESPN and NBATV and trying not to get too riled up.
- Jones said he’s also been helping his kids grow out their family garden, which only made me more envious of those who have backyards during this time.
- From a Suns perspective, Jones said a lot of his focus has been reimagining practice and training schedules in the event that the regular season resumes.
- Jones also noted he would love the idea of a play-in tournament of some kind to give the Suns’ season heightened meaning if it comes back.
- A fun note from Jones is also that Ray Allen is an extremely close friend, and someone his children call “Uncle Ray.” I never knew they were so close.
According to a press release from the team, “Valley Chatz” will air every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on Suns.com/now and FOX Sports Arizona, prior to “Sunsday” at 7 p.m.
The team hasn’t announced who the guests will be on the April 12 episode, but if you’re hungry for new Suns content, these interviews are honestly show even more of the human side than typical in-season coverage. Tune in!